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I spent 45 minutes in a clinic waiting room yesterday. (Nothing worrying; we were there for travel vaccines.)

Waiting rooms are usually, by definition, boring. But I found three things that made me glad of the wait:

1) A brochure for local foot reflexology and Indian head massage. Ooh, my two favorite bits of massage, available without having to completely disrobe! I don’t have anything against being naked, but I find the steps of getting undressed and dressed again to be added efforts, while skipping them would make the whole experience more relaxing. Just come as you are, sit down, enjoy!

2) A “Missing Person Abroad” brochure that is very, very specific about what to do, and what the UK government can do, should someone go missing while travelling. The plot gears in my mind are turning already…

3) This sad, inspriring newspaper story about a sick child’s short life made happy, framed on the wall.

Much more stimulating than a stack of magazines.


What do you miss most about America, Emily?

1) Autumn leaves.

I’m from the east coast of the US, and the leaves here in the UK just don’t compare.

2) US bathroom etiquette.

When I see a closed bathroom door, I knock on it. Only if there is no claim of occupancy do I try the handle.

Here, I’m considered horribly rude to expect interaction with someone on the toilet. No one ever answers. Worse, no one ever knocks on my toilet stall door. They just grab the handle and start rattling. In their minds, they’re being polite, checking the status of the door rather than engaging with me while I’m involved in personal matters. But it makes me feel cornered. The rattling, turning handle is far more creepy and imposing than a knock. I feel like a heroine in a horror movie, cringing on the toilet, hoping the door will hold.

3) Baggers in supermarkets.

My kids were in awe of baggers last summer in Rhode Island. You mean, people actually *help* you?? Also, the checker gave them free day-old bakery cookies. My older son plans to move back to the US when he’s an adult, partly based on this one shopping trip.

There is a saying among writers: Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Sitting is great for writing, terrible for health. I think I gain 20 pounds with each book. This is Not Good. (Good thing I am only on my third book!)

I’m also trying to become more tidy as I go, rather than saving up lots of piles to dismantle in massive efforts every six months or so. I have a theory that becoming more physically active with daily upkeep may help with both tidiness and health.

Will report later…

Three links that have made me smile this week:

How to respond to negative reviews” by Beth Revis:

“If there are people in the world who hate puppies, Harry Potter, chocolate, and/or bacon, then there are people in the world who hate your book. Put in that perspective, things aren’t so bad, huh?”

Evil Editor on vagueness in queries:

“It’s like opening a menu and reading:

Entree 1: Ingredients are combined lovingly and cooked to perfection, then spooned onto a plate and served.

Entree 2: A medley of items from our kitchen prepared stovetop by our chef and brought to your table.

Entree 3: Stuff, cooked.

Some specifics about these powerful people: who they are, what they want, what happens if they get it, how the superheroes plan to stop them, would be helpful.”

The scent of books, bottled:

Demeter “Paperback

Steidl “Paper Passion”


From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."